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By Surasak kangkhao
The primary meaning of “Culture”1 is any human activity pattern and/or symbolic identity that is repetitive and meaningful. The human condition throughout history has been one of growth and change caused by environmental, social, and personal development. Over time, social forces and interactions are one of the primary driving forces of change in order that humans achieve more prosperity.
According to the many cultures that have been studied, the author considers two kinds of cultures. First is the tangible culture which includes physical constructs such as tools, appliances, buildings, weapons, rituals, ceremonies..etc.. Second is the intangible culture which focuses on the ethereal and emotional, or the way an activity pattern makes one feel. Examples of the intangible elements are spirituality, morality, ethics, literature, and traditions. In some cases cultural elements such as traditions, aesthetics, rituals can exist as both intangible and tangible.
Architecture is an art expressed through the physical structure that creates usefulness according to the needs of the user, which can be related to engineering, science, sociology, anthropology, and art including context and environment, both exterior and interior.
According to the article,architecture comprises three main points. Venustas, proportion, elements, position, color, material, and texture raise the mindfulness of sightseer and visitors (Marcus Vitruvius Pollio and Benjamin Blom, 1968), firmitas and utilitas, the functional, aim to propose and philosophy of the place.
Completed architecture has to be a synthesis of the functional, society, belief, and environment. Architecture is built for usefulness and aesthetic purposes. However, the architecture truly needs refinement through physical and psychological terms to emphasize the contextual importance of the design. Therefore architecture is also a medium of the culture that reflects the society.
Thai-style architecture originated long before history. Thai ancestors began settling in different locations, based on geography and common values. They developed patterns of living and types of architectures that were imperative to their survival in the environment, yet still reflected their core values. Monasteries (wat) are examples of structures built on a set core values or common belief system. The Thai Wats (e.g. viharn, bot, chedi, and stupa) signified rules and traditional beliefs in buddhism which influenced the physical designs, user function and aesthetics of Thai culture. Later politics also began influencing the locals by later establishing a traditional design for Thai style architecture. This happened over time but became more standardized throughout the 19th century BC. In retrospect, arts from Sukhothai, Lan Na, and Ayutthaya Kingdoms had flourished and been enhanced through each generation. Moreover, a variety of elements from different cultures (neighboring kingdoms) were incorporated into the local arts. This process resulted in the emergence of unique arts with systematic characteristics that were specific to each period.
The systematic characteristics and application of these designs could not often be used to draw information about the origin or the time that they were invented. Each cultural element potentially possesses distinctive features, which implied the inclusion of components from different local communities. These elements are then incorporated and amount to the unity of the architecture that was passed on through each generation. Some religious sites like sanctuaries, temples, viharns, or pagodas, have transformed over time. Thus changing the systematic characteristics of architectures and creating a set of symbolic customs and traditions that represent the Thai community.
By Surasak kangkhao
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